Perception is everything
This is a quote from Ross Tucker on the Science of Sport BLOG. Perception is a huge topic in endurance sports. In the literature you find lots of papers that pick up this topic*.
Why do we launch this initiative? One reason is because the better your perceptional skills the more control you got over your body and mind. It makes you the commander. Another reason why got this project on the way is our passion for Biestmilch. Biestmilch can be used as a tool to sharpen your senses for a more conscious body perception. As a substance it can improve your well-being and fitness. Therefore it enhances your overall performance.
We are discussing the topic body perceptions for years now. You may ask yourself how perception and Biestmilch are connected. Biestmilch is a complex substance intertwining itself with the body as a whole. It can be seen as a tool that is fine-tuning the body conditions important for well-being and fitness. Biestmilch reflects your physiology, collaborates with it.
Does this sound too fluffy to you? Then let’s throw a short glimpse on the holy grail of the Western society the electronic devices and see whether they are really more reliable than your perception. They are considered as pure and not messed up by the subjectivity of the human perception. The short excursus underneath may show you that this opinion cannot be more wrong.
Biestmilch’s hypothesis is that how abundant the technical devices available may be and may become in the future, none of them will be able to replace your very own body perception.
Even though the current development in the field of electronics gives us devices at hand that enable us to collect heaps of data, the data is not telling you how you feel and whether you are on the right path of improving performance and peaking on time. All data need interpretation. Who is in charge of this job? Isn’t it always a human brain? We see basically to distinct approaches to built an electronic device.
One sort of technical devices relies on an build-in algorithm written by programmers, when it comes to the interpretation of the collected data. The algorithm is based on statistics. The statistics refer to a respective sample of our society of which the features seem to be significant for the question the respective device has to answer. In this case the statistical average gives meaning to your data. You can imagine that an individual may not necessarily fit into such a statistical sample.
Another kind of device records heaps of personal data over time. From these data evolves a personal pattern of parameters. How to interpret the patterns and who does it? How to extract a conclusion from the data that is relevant for the individual. This method is very trendy but still in its infancy. To read and interpret patterns needs lots of experience and the person interpreting your patterns needs to know you very well.
All the patterns recorded and read out should reflect your state of well-being, not an easy task, especially when it comes to the issue of real-time interpretation. Historical results may be interesting and useful for one reason, but not to assess your current condition.
The information technology wants us to believe that everything is possible, that the machine can take over all responsibility for our lives, which means machines are in command. In my opinion this is a big fallacy.
That’s why I am such a proponent of body perception and the fact that each of us has to refine the skills to achieve more specific perception. In the end your abilities to perceive yourself determine your quality as an athlete.
It is of great importance in the training and in the race. Both situations ask for the observation of a distinct set of phenomena.
Please, find some helpful observational cues for sharpening your body senses below.
Perception during the competition
In endurance races the body faces mainly two critical conditions, one is fatigue and the other are gastrointestinal distress.
Try to discover for yourself on which trajectory of the extremes between up and down the listed conditions move during those hours you are all alone out there:
Focus, alertness, concentration, fatigue, sensation of pain, stride length, cadence, muscle tonicity, watts, heavy legs, cramps and cramp pattern, GI issues (pain, cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, leading etc.).
The more familiar you are with yourself the more you are in command and can take precautions in time.
Perception during the training
Monitoring the quality of sleep, motivation, mood and emotional state, state of mind, extent and duration of fatigue, duration and extent of muscles soreness, appetite, craving for sweets, body weight and temperature sensation can help you to assess your general fitness and well-being.
A tools that may help to improve your perception during training is the Perceived Exertion Rating Scale. Underneath you find a modified scale that I like a lot because it expresses the condition you might yourself find in fairly concrete.
• Level 1: I’m watching TV and eating bonbons
• Level 2: I’m comfortable and could maintain this pace all day long
• Level 3: I’m still comfortable, but am breathing a bit harder
• Level 4: I’m sweating a little, but feel good and can carry on a conversation effortlessly
• Level 5: I’m just above comfortable, am sweating more and can still talk easily
• Level 6: I can still talk, but am slightly breathless
• Level 7: I can still talk, but I don’t really want to. I’m sweating like a pig
• Level 8: I can grunt in response to your questions and can only keep this pace for a short time period
• Level 9: I am probably going to die
• Level 10: I am dead